My kids’ songs

I love music.  I can’t play an instrument nor carry a tune to save my life but I love music.  I hear a song and it brings me back to the moment in time when it first struck a chord with me (pun intended).

I remember fondly each song that sang to my heart when my children were born.  My first child, Caleigh, was born in 2006 in New Jersey.  It was a difficult birth and her first ten days in the world were in the NICU of the hospital.  I was there for the first four days but then had to go home while she stayed for the next six.  On the way home from the hospital the first night I heard Five For Fighting’s song “The Riddle”.  And to this day, when I hear it, I’m brought back to that ride home.  Tom at the wheel and me in the passenger seat, tears streaming down my face as we left out newborn daughter at the hospital.  My heart beats faster at the memory, as I write this.

Two and a half years later, Blake came into our world.  There was a lot less stress this time around.  My only boy, he had me wrapped around his finger within moments.   He and I danced to this song a lot in his first few months.  As I listened to it again tonight, it had my foot tapping and made me smile.

And then sweet Maggie.  Sweet loveable Maggie, who from the beginning quickly found her voice.  If and when Maggie was ever upset, it wasn’t me nor Tom nor her older siblings who could calm her down.  It was the Lumineers and their song “Hey Ho”.  She’s only 13 months but still to this day, she gets quiet and listens to the song in its entirety.  When it’s done, she starts babbling again.

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My Inner Ninja

I love this song.  It not only makes me want to dance but the lyrics really speak to me.

As chiropractors, we are definitely against the mainstream.  We are not your run of the mill health office.  Heck, at Anderson Chiropractic Group, we are not even what most people think chiropractors should traditionally be about – back pain and headaches.  We’re all about life.  Increasing life potential.  Inspiring people to create better health for themselves.  People want what we have –  we know that.  We get to work with the most amazing group of people – individuals and families – all who want exceptional health and an exceptional life.

But I sometimes feel that I need an Inner Ninja to help me break down walls and keep my energy high.  It can get tiring sometimes to keep telling my truth.  Regardless of how many times I’m told that I’m crazy, that I’m a quack, that I’m playing against the rules, that I’m different, that I’m not needed…I keep going.  Because I know how awesome it is to live subluxation free.  I know how awesome it is to live with my power turned on.  And I know the people we work with know how awesome it is to live with their power turned on.  Because I see it in my office, day after day, week after week, month after month.  The miracles.  The every day miracles that as a chiropractor I get to play a small part in.

So bring it.  Bring on the people that think I’m crazy.   My Inner Ninja and I are ready.

P.S.  The only words I don’t agree with in this song are:

“I’m overdue, I don’t do what I’m supposed to do 
Cause you can think about it man, we’re supposed to lose”

Wrong.  We’re not supposed to lose.  We’re born to be extraordinary.  We’re destined to have abundant health.  We’re meant to have an amazing life.  But only if you want to and if you’re willing to put the work in to achieve it.  It doesn’t come by happenstance.  It comes because I will work my butt off to make that happen.  I choose health.  I choose an extraordinary life.  I hope you do too.

Kitchen Love

One of my good friends and fellow chiropractors, Dr. Amy Gillespie-Robinson, has written many a time about how one of her joys is being able to provide good meals for her family.  I feel the same way.  There is something about creating an amazing meal to bring a family together that makes me feel like a good mom.  Also, knowing what goes into those meals (from scratch) is a good feeling.  I feel that for IWFDW, I have to put on a good show (I can’t very well put up some mangy looking food on my blog!) but this week I’ve been feeling very inspired in my kitchen.  The inspiration has overfloweth and I have been creating some really tasty dinners for my family to enjoy PLUS lots of leftovers to choose from throughout the rest of the week.  Family is happy because they are full and I’m happy because they are happy.  This may backfire on me when my inspiration runs dry but in the meantime, we’re all sopping it up.  It all started on Sunday night….

I had been frustrated over an injury that has kept me from working out (to any extent) for two weeks.  While it was healing, I knew that it would need another good week of rest before I could jump back in at the gym.  Other than going for walks around my neighbourhood, I had not been able to be that active.  So, I was being extra careful with what I was eating as I didn’t my  “no workout depression” to sideline my eating habits at all.

Sunday night we came home from an amazing weekend with friends down in Toronto.  I had been starstruck over meeting Fred Penner at Young People’ s Theatre in Toronto.  I know, I know…FRED PENNER!  The well-loved Canadian children’s performer that any kid from the Great White North grew up on.    Chime in when you’re ready: “The cat came back the very next day, the cat came back…they thought he was a goner, but the cat came back, he just couldn’t stay away!”  I’m such a fan, I wanted my picture taken with him and I haven’t washed Maggie since.

The Amazing Fred Penner with the equally Amazing Ryan Family (minus Tom who took the picture...xo)

The Amazing Fred Penner with the equally Amazing Ryan Family (minus Tom who took the picture…xo)

Anyhow, the weekend put things in perspective for me.  I had a great time with my family and my attitude prior to the weekend had been pretty pathetic.  Basically it was a slap across the face to say “get out of your funk, you whiner!”.  Just because I can’t be as active as I want to be doesn’t mean I can’t throw the energy I have for working out into other areas of my life.

So Monday morning I hit the grocery store.  I stocked up on foods to create some exceptional meals this week.  New foods, fun foods, interesting foods….just stepping enough out of my comfort zone as a cook to make things exciting.  Here’s what I came up with:

Mini Morning Glory Muffins

Mini Morning Glory Muffins

These have been delicious and a perfect addition to both breakfast and lunch.  They are nut-free so perfect to send to school!  Got them from www.paleomg.com!

HM Chicken & Veggie Soup with little carrot hearts. :)

HM Chicken & Veggie Soup with little carrot hearts. 🙂

This was my own inspiration and really nothing that took a lot of thought.  I simmered a whole chicken for about 45 minutes and then while letting the chicken cool on a rack, I added in some veggies (carrots, peas, onions) and spices (bay leaves, oregano, basil, parsley, s&p).  Cut up the chicken and Bob’s your uncle.

Turkey & Beef meatballs with Zucchini in a Marinara Sauce

Turkey & Beef meatballs with Zucchini in a Marinara Sauce

Really, again…not so difficult.  Mashed together beef & turkey (about 2 lbs in total) and then added in onion, garlic, s&p, basil, oregano, egg whites (3), and some almond flour (in lieu of bread crumbs).  Moulded them into balls and threw them into a HM marinara sauce made of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, s&p, garlic, onions, oregano & parsley.  Saute them for about 30 minutes and dinner is served!

So we have been enjoying these creations all week.  And then Wednesday came along and I’m trying very hard to keep up with the good meals I’ve been creating so I put together a version of Butter Chicken.  Actually, I can’t lie…the “butter” part was previously made a couple of weeks ago and I threw it in with some chicken tonight.  I got the basic recipe from Everyday Paleo but played with it a bit as I don’t know what fenugreek powder is, didn’t have time to make ghee,  and we love garlic so I upped it a bit (check out their site if you want their specific recipe)

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

1 red onion diced

3 tbsp coconut oil

6 oz can tomato paste

½ can coconut milk

1 tbsp crushed garlic

½ tsp cardamom powder

½ tsp coriander powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp sea salt

4 tbsp butter

 

Details

Butterfly the chicken breasts.  In a large skillet or soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and add the diced onion and saute until translucent.  Turn your heat down to low and to the onion and oil mixture, add the crushed garlic, cardamom, coriander, paprika, and chili powder and stir well to make a paste.  Add the tomato paste to the onions and spices and stir, this mixture will be very thick.  Turn your heat back up to medium and add the coconut milk and salt.  Use a whisk to blend the tomato paste spice mixture and coconut milk together into a thick sauce.  Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the chicken.  Return the sauce and chicken to a simmer, turn down to medium low, cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the chicken is done all the way through – make sure you stir occasionally during the cooking process. After the chicken is cooked, add the butter and mix into the sauce until melted.

We served ours with a side salad of spinach, peas, red onion, feta, and a homemade vinaigrette of olive oil, rice vinegar, and grainy mustard.  The kids had peas as they won’t touch salad (yet).  The result:

Butter Chicken w/ Side Salad

Butter Chicken w/ Side Salad

For the rest of the week I have a few fun things planned – Chicken Drumsticks (I’m going out on a limb with this one – Tom isn’t a chicken fan so twice in one week is pushing it…they better be spectacular!), Sausage & Spinach stuffed Peppers, and for the first time in our house Cauliflower Crust Pizza (don’t laugh…apparently it’s amazing and I’m trying it out at our place this weekend….).  If you want updated pictures along the way, you can follow me on Instagram as I post daily there.

Eat on, my friends.  It’s a ton of fun creating new things in the kitchen.  Admittedly, they aren’t always met with rave reviews from my family.  Doesn’t mean I stop trying though.  The payback for me is a healthier family and there is no greater gift I can give to them.

Dance Parties are Back (kind of)

A couple of mornings ago, I was downloading Thriftshop by Macklemore onto my iPhone.  I let it play (the clean version) for the kids while I served them up some eggs and bacon for breakfast.  I’m pretty sure that I looked and sounded so much more awesome in my head than I did in person but to actually have my three year old shake his head at me and say “no mom” as I was putting on my best dance moves around our kitchen table was pretty funny.  Apparently my dancing embarrassed him.  Or maybe he just isn’t ready to bust out a move at 7:30 in the morning.  His older sister was all over it, throwing her arms up in the air and jumping around – we were having a moment of just pure joy.  And then Blake with his disapproving frown and shake of his head made us laugh so we tried even harder to get him in on it.  That backfired by epic proportions.  All the same, it was a fun start to our morning.

(Note:  this video is definitely NOT the clean version.  I couldn’t find the video for it without the non-kid-friendly-language)

Morning Kitchen Dance Parties

Not long ago I started a new tradition as part of our morning routine.  I found that our regular morning routines were…well…routine.

  • Wake up.
  • Come downstairs.
  • Make and eat breakfast.
  • Clean up after breakfast.
  • Go upstairs.
  • Get dressed.
  • Brush teeth and hair.  Wash faces.
  • Go downstairs.
  • Pack school bag.
  • Go to bus stop.

It was getting old.  And I found that other than asking what my kids were excited to do that day, there wasn’t much spizz in our morning.  So I shook things up one day and it  has totally transformed the way we look at our morning.  The first few steps are the same but while breakfast is cooking (mmmmm, eggs & bacon), we now have our Morning Kitchen Dance Party.  The first day, I had it all planned as they made their way downstairs early on a Tuesday morning.  I was met with the regular “Morning Mama” that makes my heart swell (seriously the best alias ever is Mama).  Big hugs, “Good morning to you guys too!”.   And then something different, something unexpected, as I hit play on my computer.  The room was filled with the first chords of “When the Night Feels My Song” by Bedouin Soundclash and our inaugaral Morning Kitchen Dance Party commenced.

I started to dance.  I joined in on the lyrics.  My kids stopped in their tracks and looked at me as though I had lost my mind.  Blake hid a smile but hid behind a counter.  Caleigh couldn’t keep her eyes off me but wasn’t sure what to do.  But then a smile broke over her face and she started to move.  She laughed out loud.  Blake came out from behind the counter.  He wasn’t sure what to think and despite his protests, I took his hand and to my delight, he didn’t let go.  While Caleigh giggled and danced around me, I picked up an unsure Blake in my arms and twirled around in a circle.  He laughed and still protested, meekly, “No, mama!” but when I put him down, insisted on being picked up again. I sang at the top of my lungs and by the final chorus, Caleigh had figured out how to chime in on the “hey, hey, hey-ey-ey-ey, hey beautiful day, hey beautiful day!”.

Best start to my day ever.  And while I’m putting words in their mouth, I think it ranked pretty high for them too.  (Putting aside that I have trouble competing with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny)

Our Morning Kitchen Dance Parties are by far our favourite part of our morning routine.  The music changes up once in a while but I like Bedouin Soundclash’s song because it puts us in good spirits and reminds both me and my kids that it truly is a beautiful day.  It sets the tone.  It puts smiles on our faces (I dare you to dance outrageously without smiling).  It gets us moving.  It inspires more spirited conversation at the breakfast table.  It brings music into our lives.  It supports their self-expression through dance.  Most importantly, it connects us as a family.

I remember growing up having family traditions and warm memories with the people I love the most.  If this is something that in 30 years, my kids reflect back on as one of the family memories they have, I’ve succeeded.  I know that in thirty years, I will remember those Morning Kitchen Dance Parties, with my kids giggling and rockn’ out in their footy pyjamas.  Because that is what family memories are all about.